Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Set on the outskirts of Megalo Papigo, a charming village located in Zagori, Papaevangelou is a traditionally built hotel that offers guests a chance to completely unwind and take in the calming mountainous views. 

The quaint village atmosphere set against the lush mountainside makes an ideal backdrop for a relaxing getaway and Papaevangelou Hotel- with its warm hues- is the essence of Greek mainland hospitality; its simple, yet chic comforts make it feel like a home away from home. 


Tucked into the hillside overlooking the towering Astraka, Papaevangelou is close to the centre of Papingo (about 200 metres), where you will find traditional tavernas serving local specialties, as well as charming cafes. The scenic village of Aristi is about 10 km away, while the picturesque Monodendri is 30 kilometres away.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Character & Style 

Set in a stone mansion that pays homage to the unique traditional architecture of the area, the hotel provides the perfect blend between old-world charm and modern-day comforts. Intimate spaces and simple décor keep the focus on the surrounding nature; and the layout was designed with a wonderful view in mind, with large windows looking out to the mountainside at every opportunity. Austere yet warm, the decor at the hotel lets the sturdy wood take the front stage, complementing and warming up the traditional stone.


Commanding breathtaking views, all of the ten rooms can accommodate up to three guests and have been set out with comfort in mind. The earthy decor complements the peace of the environment and the crisp mountain air; and they all boast a private bathroom with amenities, independent heating, complimentary WiFi, refrigerator, and daily maid service that will make you feel at home.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views


The four studios, with their open layout, are ideal for families. Kitchenettes allow for eating as you please, and the country-style décor gives it a very inviting and “never want to leave” kind of feel. 

Food & Drinks

Start your day with a home-cooked breakfast made with locally sourced fresh ingredients. The wonderful homemade breakfast is served daily in the spacious lounge area featuring a stone-built fireplace. Hot beverages and alcoholic drinks can be enjoyed throughout the day at the bar. In the evening, warm up by the wood-burning fireplace with a drink and share your adventures of the day.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Ideal for…

Whether you are in Papigo to get away from city life and enjoy a few days of pure rest and relaxation, or you are here to experience the adventurous mountaineering and rafting at the Vikos Gorge, Papaevangelou Hotel is the perfect retreat in Zagori. 

Facilities & Services 

  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bar
  • Sun terrace
  • Garden
  • Luggage storage
  • Safety deposit box
  • Heating
  • Daily maid service

A: Megalo Papigo, Zagohoria 

20 Best Things to do in Patras

Located on the northern side of the Peloponnese, Patras is Greece’s third-largest city. A place with a long, rich history etched in the various archaeological sites and museums, it’s also a vibrant city with lively spaces, cafes, and restaurants. 

Wander in the beautiful old town, explore the squares, sidewalks, and the bustling port, linking Greece with Italy- there are so many glorious spots waiting to be discovered. 

Here we share 20 of the Best Things to See and Do in Patras 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Apollon Theatre in Patras

Medieval Castle

Located on a hill above the town, the Castle of Patras dates from Medieval times and offers great views of the town and the port. In summer, cultural events are also organised here. 

Apollon Theatre 

This architectural masterpiece was built in 1972 by famous German architect Ernst Ziller and it is located on the east side of King George I Square, one of the most popular squares in the town. 

Folk Art Museum 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Archaeological Museum of Patras

Opened in 1977 by the Cultural Organisation of Patras, the museum’s aim is to collect and exhibit photos, clothes,  furniture, and other artifacts that date from a few centuries ago- highlighting the rich folk history of the town. Presently, the rooms of the museum are divided into sections including agricultural tools, home furniture, traditional musical instruments, and dance costumes.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum of Patras is the second biggest museum in Greece. Although the plans for its construction started in the late 1980s, the museum actually opened in July 2009 and it features a charming garden with a pool.

Historic Churches

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Agios Andreas Cathedral

The magnificent chapel of the Patron Saint of Patras, Agios Andreas (St Andrew) was built in the Byzantine style, and it’s said that the church has been built on the site where Saint Andrew, the student of Jesus Christ, was killed by the Romans in 66 AD. Close to the church, there is the “Spring of Agios Andreas”, which pours out holy water. Also, the church of Agia Varvara (Saint Barbara) is impressive and has also been built in the Byzantine style. Inside, you will find holy icons and beautiful frescoes depicting saints and archangels. Also make sure you climb the 193 steps up to the Church of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas), which was initially built in the 14th century, however, the present chapel was constructed in 1885 because the former building was destroyed. 

Stroll around the grounds of the theatre 

The Ancient Roman Odeon of Patras was accidentally discovered in 1889 by workers and since then it has been renovated. Since being rebuilt, the amphitheater now hosts summer events, musical concerts, and theatrical performances year-round. 

Explore the Upper Town

One of the highlights to Patras is walking through this picturesque part of town, with its narrow streets, archways, attractions, and unique architecture. Here you’ll see the castle, the ancient conservatory, the Pantokratoras church, built in the 19th century, the Roman Amphitheatre, and the Old Municipal Hospital built in 1857. Originally designed by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, it’s been turned into an exhibition space and cultural centre.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Views from up high

Visit the Town Squares 

Patras has so many lively town squares and that all are filled with locals and visitors enjoying a coffee and a catch-up. Start at Psila Alonia, buzzing with tavernas and bars- the views from here are great! At the centre you will come across Agios Giorgios Square (where the Carnival’s opening ceremony takes place), here you will find the famous Apollon Theatre (mentioned above),  at Olgas Square- make sure you sit for a coffee and then head to the Archaeological Museum. 

The Lighthouse of Patras

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Lighthouse of Patras

The lighthouse was originally built at Agios Nikolaos harbour, where it remained until 1972 when it was demolished. A model of the lighthouse was built in 1999, near the church of Agios Andreas. 

Take a bath at the Old Hammam 

The Turkish baths in Patras, also known as hammams, have been open since the 15th century AD and are a wonderful place to relax and rejuvenate. Built by the Venetians, they are the only Turkish baths still in operation in Greece today.

Visit one of Greece’s oldest wineries

Sip a small glass of the famous Mavrodaphne wine at the Achaia Clauss winery, one of the oldest and most famous wineries in all of Greece. For Patras, this is a historical winery as it contributed to the financial development of the town in the middle 19th century. Founded in 1861, the winery is known to produce the best mavrodaphne (a sweet and strong wine.) 

Slowly sip on Tentura

Speaking of drinks, don’t leave Patras without trying its famous Tentura, the nectar of Patras, a local liqueur produced here since the 15th century.

Visit the House of one of Greece’ most Famous Poets

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Famous poet’s home

Kostis Palamas is one of Greece’s most renowned poets and the artist who wrote the lyrics to the Olympic Anthem, which is sung today in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. His 19th-century neoclassical house has become a museum. Here you can see where he was born and the environment in which he was raised.

Get lost in the Street Art

Patras is a city filled with joyful students from university, and it has a cool urban vibe, which includes plenty of street art that is displayed pretty much on every second corner of town. 

Enjoy the Festivities 

Patras’ annual Carnival is a huge event and is the second biggest carnival in all of Europe; and the third biggest in the world. The carnival festivities take place each year between mid-January to mid-February (dates vary) and if you are here during this time, you are in for a good time. This modern event that first started in 1829 (with a high-class masquerade ball in a rich merchant’s mansion) has evolved into a huge extensive event that nowadays includes floats, colourful festivities, dancing, floats, masqueraders, and the famous treasure hunt. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Crossing the modern bridge

Cross the modern bridge

The Rio-Antirrio bridge is a bold and modern landmark. It is one of the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges and the longest of the fully suspended type. It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece. 

Admire neoclassical buildings

Discover the neoclassical landmarks of the city, built from the 1830s onward, during the time of King Otto, and throughout the remainder of the 19th century. Some of the stand-out features include marble staircases, ornate railings, impressive doors, and intricate murals.

Eat & Drink your way around Patra 

The most popular restaurants and taverns in town are found at the port promenade, offering delicious dishes and nice views of the sea.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Divani Restaurant

Many cafes and bars are located in the city centre, mostly at the square of King George and along the main avenues of Patras. Seafood taverns are also found in seaside villages close to the city, such as Vrachneika and Rio. For brunch or coffee head to Cuccuvayia, Bodegas, and Big Ben.

For food in the centre of the town make your way to Ifaistou. At the port, there are many cafes to pick from if you are looking for a place to grab breakfast, coffee, dessert, or just a drink- look out for Theatraki and Yayaz. Also, 10 minutes drive from the centre along the coastal road there are plenty of places to try- standouts are Distinto, which is a great all-day restaurant and Naftiko– ideal for dinner.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Naftiko for a drink

If you are after a picturesque seaside dining experience, head to Vraxneika. Come here for brunch, late lunch, or a casual dinner. If you are after some traditional Greek meat platters head to Xeiropoihto, for good seafood there is Meltemi and for great all-round Greek dishes make your way to I Oura Tou Kokora. And for a cocktail or glass of wine, add Divani and Omega to your list- they also serve great food. Also check out Abbey Kitchen Bar, Baraki, and for wine bars head to Salumerio and Carousello

Stay in style

If you are looking for a beautiful place to stay, look no further than The Bold Type Hotel. Located in the historic district of Ano Polis, near the Medieval Castle and Roman Odeon- two historical monuments of Greece, this new hotel opened in 2020. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Patras
Bold Type Hotel by © Pygmalion Karatzas

Set in a stunning classical building, the luxury 5-star hotel features a fourth floor with a Roof View, offering a prime position facing the Fortress, the Ancient Roman Conservatory, as well as the Gulf of Patras. At the back of the hotel, you will find a magnificent courtyard, which has been transformed into a fine dining restaurant. Run by talented chef Giannis Skentzos, it’s also an ideal spot for brunch, late lunch or dinner.

Visit nearby places

Patras is referred to as the “Gateway to the West”, as you can take a ferry to Bari, Italy, or hop over to the Ionian islands of Lefkada, Kefalonia, Corfu, Zakynthos, Ithaca, Paxoi, and Kythera. Patras really is a central location and ideal for road trips to Olympia, Nafpaktos, Messolongi, and Delphi.

How do I get to Patras? 

There are many ways to get to Patras from Athens and the most convenient way is to drive.  The trip is just over two hours long by car and you can also get to Patras by bus; otherwise, you can take the suburban railway from Athens to Patras. 

Vacation Rentals in Greece Soared Over Summer

Bookings for vacation rentals on platforms such as Airbnb soared by 200 percent in Athens this summer, versus 2019 levels, as the Greek capital ranked among the best performing cities globally, according to Rentals United Data Studio. 

In Italy, the market is also recovering though taking more time to do so, while data for Madrid shows that bookings moved higher, rising some 8 percent from two years ago when the pandemic first hit Europe.

The gradual resumption of international travel helped boost crucial tourism sectors in Europe’s south this summer on the back of strong demand from European and US travelers.

The figures provided by Rentals United do not show not cover the month of August where tourism was particularly strong in markets such as Greece.

“Demand for vacation rentals in Greece has been huge this summer and that includes Athens too. Vacation rentals in Greece are especially popular among travelers from Spain, France, and Italy,” says Rentals United in a statement.

“Thanks to their open borders and relaxed restrictions, compared to 2019, Athens has seen an average percentage increase of more than 201.01%,” highlights the company.

The best performing platforms for short-term property rentals in Athens are Expedia, Airbnb,, Ostrovok, and Agoda, it adds.

In Spain, the country’s two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are showing a mixed bag of results.

While Spain is bouncing back, Barcelona is taking a little longer to get back to pre-pandemic times. The spike in Covid cases in Barcelona in July clearly took a hit with reservations.

“Barcelona is starting to look a little more positive in terms of bookings but we still see an average percentage decrease of 28.4 percent compared with 2019,” highlighted the company.

Tourism in Spain performed well this year supported by travelling Spanish residents though the pandemic continues to weigh on the number of foreigners visiting the country. Some hotels owners report experiencing a better season than in 2019 as the sector heads towards pre-pandemic levels.

In Italy, trends are similar with growth largely supported by domestic travellers. 

“Italy as a whole is bouncing back tremendously well, thanks to its popularity with French travellers who are able to drive across the border. Italian cities, on the other hand, are taking a little longer to bounce back,” Rentals United says.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

*Image courtesy of Airbnb   

Historical Hotel at the Tip of Mani Peninsula

Housed in a fully restored 19th-century building complex, just off the southernmost tip of Mani’s charming countryside, Kyrimai Hotel combines traditional architecture with contemporary comforts. 

With views of Mani’s crystal-blue sea as well as its breathtaking landscape, staying here allows guests to appreciate the pleasures of living a slow and simple life. 


Kyrimai Hotel in Gerolimenas is about a two-hour drive from Kalamata, the second-largest city of the Peloponnese. This picturesque fishing village is filled with οld stоnе buildings set by the blue sea. While staying at Kyrimai, you can also visit some of the beautiful nearby destinations including Sparta, Mystras, Monemvasia, Kardamyli, and Limeni.  

Style & Feel

Dating back to 1870, this beautifully restored property offers a historic feel, with its elegant country chic decor that’s showcased throughout the rooms. The interiors boast traditional Maniot stone-and-wood period architecture, with majestic stairways, arches and pretty gardens situated in an enviable position, on the edge of the sea- offering a breathtaking view of Gerolimena’s Bay. Throughout the property guests will come across antique furniture, numerous exhibits, hundreds of old books and other antique pieces that highlight Greece of the late 19th century.


As the charming rooms and suites have been built so close to the sea, Kyrimai offers its guests a unique experience- as they wake up to the sounds of gentle waves crashing onto the property. The quaint rooms combine traditional materials such as wood and stone, with modern, elegant furnishing; and also wonderful vistas of the surroundings.

Food & Drinks

Combining traditional tastes with a sense of creativity, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant serves delightful dishes that have become loved by locals and visitors who can’t get enough of this Maniot eatery. There is no set menu as the talented team prefers using recipes depending on the fisherman’s catch of the day and other fresh ingredients they can get their hands on. There is also a great wine list and in the winter months, guests gather around the bar in the lobby for cocktails and Greek wines.


The outdoor pool is unheated and family-friendly. It’s nestled on the water’s edge, with comfortable sun loungers and plenty of umbrellas, which also run down the stone jetty that leads out to a private beach. Kyrimai also offers on-site parking, free WiFi throughout, plug adaptors, and beach bags for its guests. 

Ideal for…

Couples, families, foodies, and anyone who wants to explore the beautiful Mani area. The hotel can also help organise water sports activities such as diving guided tours, hiking trails, boat trips, sea kayak trips, and electric bike trips- making it a great getaway for those looking for some adventure along the way.  

Facilities & Services

  • Private beach 
  • Pool
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Wifi
  • Free toiletries
  • Free Parking
  • Room Service
  • Breakfast included

A: Gerolimenas, Mani, Peloponnese

Greece Set to Welcome Digital Nomads

Greece has tabled a bill in parliament aimed at drawing digital nomads to the country.

Like many countries around the world, Greece has entered the race to take advantage of the huge increase in remote workers caused by the pandemic and their spending power.

The bill, prepared by the Ministry of Migration, foresees that non-Greek residents will be able to stay in the country for a period of up to 18 months and work with foreign-based employers.

Initially, those applying for the visa can qualify for a 12-month stay, and then a six-month extension will be possible.

Among the conditions that must be met is providing proof that the digital nomad will be in work for the duration of their stay by producing an employee contract. Evidence is also needed that the remote worker earns enough money to get by without burdening the country’s social security system.

Specifically, they will be required to show a monthly income of at least 3,500 euros.

Recent research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that the Greek economy could benefit by 1.3 billion euros if the country attracted 100,000 digital nomads annually and they stayed in the country for an average of six months.

The bill also includes changes being made to Greece’s Golden visa scheme in a bid to make it more competitive.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

Building Activity Goes Through the Roof in Greece

Building activity in Greece shot up by nearly 100 percent in May with construction in western parts of the country picking up the most, data from the statistics office show.

The construction boom comes despite a sharp rise in the cost of building materials that is weighing heavily on markets, as seen in Cyprus, while in Italy the government has decided to subsidize infrastructure projects to avoid the risk of companies dumping the contracts.

In Greece, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said that total building activity, based on volume, reached 2.4 million cubic meters, up 97 percent from a year earlier. The highest growth rates were seen in Epirus (480 percent), in the north-west, and western parts of Greece’s mainland  (259.7 percent). In Attica, where Athens is located, there was a 123 percent rise.

Insights Greece - Building Activity Goes Through the Roof in Greece
Image courtesy of The Greek Guru

For the same month, the total number of building permits issued by authorities nationwide rose 62.9 percent to 2,222.

A recovering economy in Greece is helping fuel demand for homes as prices on some islands have gained as much as 26 percent amidst easing travel restrictions. Real estate agents say that buying activity from foreign nationals has mostly focused on southern Athens, along the coastal area called the Athens Riviera and the islands.

Among the recent measures introduced by the Greek government that has helped push the real estate market – and prices –  higher is the suspension of VAT payments on new building permits and unsold properties built after January 1, 2006, and a reduction of the single property tax (ENFIA).

The rising cost of building materials is causing major headaches for the industry that is seeing a post-pandemic boom globally, raising fears of bubble markets emerging in Europe and elsewhere in the world. In the first quarter of the year, housing prices in Turkey recorded the highest gains in the world, jumping 32 percent. 

The cost of basic construction materials, such as copper and timber, has soared by as much as 70 percent since the start of the year on the back of an improving global economy. In Cyprus, building officials estimate that the cost of constructing a home has risen some 20 percent recently, with some builders refusing to complete contracts unless they are covered for the price hikes.

Meanwhile, in Italy, the government is putting aside 100 million euros to help building firms working on public projects as construction costs go through the roof.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

*Image courtesy of 314 Architecture Studio  

Stay Cool at Athens’ Limanakia Vouliagmenis 

Every time you visit Athens over summer, a very important part is knowing where to cool down when temperatures soar! One of our favourite spots to swim in the Greek capital is Limanakia Vouliagmenis, where you will come across tiny coves and bays boasting crystal clear waters. 

Just 30 minutes from Athens’ centre and set between the coastal suburbs of Varkiza and Vouliagmeni, you can dive off the rocks into what seems like your own private cove. Known as Limanakia, or ‘small ports’, these rocky beaches with striking waters are most popular among locals (and in the know) international visitors who are looking for a secluded and peaceful place to swim.

Insights Greece - Stay Cool at Athens' Limanakia Vouliagmenis 
Dive off the rocks

Location of Limanakia Vouliagmenis 

You will find the beach inlet of Limanakia along the coast road to Vouliagmeni; explore the small coves and deep blue waters reached by walking down rocky paths. After departing from the more well-known organised beaches and beach bars of the famous Athenian Riviera neighbourhood, you will follow the coastal highway towards Varkiza. Firstly, you will come across Lake Vouliagmeni and then other small beaches and tiny coves that are known as Limanakia.

Surrounded by white rocks, don’t expect to find many signs for the coves and bays but look out for people walking back up from a swim; and after parking your car follow the short paths crossing through Mediterranean scrub. Most are easy walks and once you reach the coves and discover the deep blue waters and the stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and nearby islands- you will realise it’s worth the effort.

All these spots are unorganised, so don’t expect to find any umbrellas, sunbeds or shops but the water is crystal clear and ideal for relaxation, diving and scuba-diving. 

Limanakia Beach Bar 

Insights Greece - Stay Cool at Athens' Limanakia Vouliagmenis 
Limanakia Beach Bar

By day, you can swim off the rocks and at night you can enjoy a drink as you sit back and take in the stunning views of Athens Riviera at this cool seaside wooden bar nestled in the largest of the bays. As you listen to the latest summer beats, you can order a drink and watch the sunset. There are no official opening hours but over summer the bar is pretty much open 24 hours. 

How to Get There

The area of Limanakia is about a 30-45 minute drive from Athens centre and it is located in between Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. After passing Vouliagmeni Lake, you will find Limanakia around 2 km away, driving along Posidonos Avenue. On the right-hand side, you will find a parking space where you can leave your car and start walking to the beach. If you don’t have a car, you can also catch a bus which regularly departs from Syntagma Square, in the city centre. 

Tips for Visiting Limanakia Vouliagmenis

-All beaches, bays and coves are only accessible on foot, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes to get there.  

-There are no organised areas, so make sure to take a hat and sunscreen and keep in mind there is not much shade until later in the afternoon.

-When diving, watch out for sea urchins- as it can very be painful if you step on one. 

-If you want a completely quiet swim avoid heading to Limanakia Beach Bar, as it is the most crowded area. Instead, head to the right and find a more quiet spot.

Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 

Everything about this stunning little island is quiet and peaceful. Surrounded by the jewelled turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Kastellorizo allows visitors to experience authentic island life, while enjoying a slow pace holiday. 

Cobblestone alleys and traditional colourful mansions dot the scenic village and the waterfront is lined with tavernas and café-bars that spoil you for choice. Locals on this Dodecanese island welcome all visitors with open arms, which makes a holiday here all the more memorable. 

Stroll around the main harbour

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Lined with neoclassical mansions

Kastellorizo’s beautiful little harbour is lined with charming neoclassical mansions that are two-story and painted in gorgeous shades- making them stand out. The horseshoe-shaped harbour is striking and it’s the first thing you see as you arrive by ferry. In fact, it’s one of the largest harbours in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here you will find wonderful restaurants, bars, shops and Sandrapeia Urban School, whose architecture is inspired by the University of Athens building. Also, look out for the New Market and City Hall buildings that were built during the Italian occupation. 

Enjoy Kastellorizo Town

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Wander around town

Behind the harbour-front are the town’s narrow backstreets that come to life at night- especially during summer. Although it has a small population (around 490 residents), the one and only town on the island is full of  wonderful restaurants, cafes, a few bars and shops that are packed in the warmer months. Here is where you will find most of the hotels, banks, bakeries, and a range of places to eat. It really is a pretty town with lots of places to sit and enjoy the wonderful views.

Climb to Agios Giorgios  

There are around five churches dedicated to Agios Giorgios (Saint George) on Kastellorizo island and if you take a walk to the Agios Nikolaos Castle, you will then be able to climb to reach the Monastery of Agios Giorgios tou Vounou (Saint George of the Mountains).

It takes 401 steps (to be exact) to reach it, but the views from here are absolutely worth it. Surrounded by huge stones, this deserted monastery resembles a fortress and hosts a catacomb, among other things. From here you will also be rewarded with panoramic views of the harbour, Mandraki and the Turkish coastline.

Explore the Blue Cave 

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
The famous Blue Cave

The Blue Cave of Kastellorizo is famous worldwide and one of the biggest attractions to the island. This cave is said to be among the most impressive natural treasures found in the Mediterranean, as it’s larger than the Grotta Azzurra on Capri in Italy. Swimming in the cave, in the stunning reflected light, is a unique experience as the sunlight reflected at the back of the cave paints the water an incredible shade of Aegean blue, which is mesmerising.

Visit the Islet of Ro

From Kastellorizo, a day trip to the Island of Ro lasts around three hours and you will be able to see an islet that’s very special for Greeks; it’s symbolic importance is thanks to a heroic woman, Despina Achladioti, who lived on the island completely alone for 40 years. What started as a patriotic act of resistance during the Nazi Occupation lasted until she passed away. Every morning Kyria Despina proudly raised the Greek flag on this remote island and took it down every evening as the sunset. Departure from the main harbour of Kastellorizo towards the island of Ro, by speed boat, or a wooden traditional boat allows you to explore the islet and you will can have a quick swim or snorkel along the way. 

Swing by Mandraki 

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Charming little alleyways (Visit Kastellorizo)

A visit to Mandraki, the island’s second, more tranquil harbour is also a must. The peaceful, dainty and pretty bay serves as the secondary port of the island. It’s around 700 metres walking distance from the central port and can be reached within 10 minutes on foot. Mandraki is a wonderful place to swim, snorkel, or just sit back and relax with the locals at a cafe.

Learn some local history

A stroll around the older part of town is a great way to learn about the rich local history of the island. Kastello Rosso where the castle, erected by the Knights of Saint John on the russet hill, takes you back to the 14th century. Below the castle is a well preserved Lycian tomb.

Visit a unique church  

Also make sure you check out the historic Church of Agios Konstantinos and Agia Eleni, which features gothic style architecture.

Check out the Archaeological Museum

The wonderful Ancient Museum houses ancient stone anchors, vases, marble statues and other finds dating back to the 4th Century BC. You’ll find a remarkable collection of artefacts from ancient and Byzantine times, as well as local arts and crafts that reveal so much about the traditions of the island. Displays include Byzantine writing tablets, traditional local costumes and a range of folk art. More exhibits can also be found in the old Ottoman mosque which houses the Museum of Folk Art.

Spend a day at the beach

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Dive into the crystal clear waters

Don’t expect to find any sandy beaches at Kastellorizo as there is not even one, but don’t let that put you off- as there are so many amazing spots to enjoy unforgettable dips as you dive in from rocky ledges, harbour quays or boats. Some of the most popular places for a swim include a spot next to Agnadi Hotel; in front of the Megisti Hotel at the harbour and, right across, at the Faros Café. And if you take a boat from the harbour you can explore may remote spots- make sure you make your way over to Plakes. 

Take a boat tour around the island

A boat ride with a local skipper is the best way to see the hidden places and this way you can swim or go snorkelling at some of the nicest bays of your choice. Boats depart from the main harbour of Kastellorizo and you are able to explore the emerald waters, including the nearby islet of Agios Giorgios. When sailing around you will be able to discover small rocky bays as well as the secret Colones Blue Cave (not the Blue Cave mentioned above). 

Taste local dishes and delicacies

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Local dishes (Image by Visit Kastellorizo)

Kastellorizo is renowned for its seafood dishes and each morning at the harbour, you can watch boats arriving with fresh fish, prawns, sea urchins and octopus that is delivered straight to the local tavernas. The fish is incredible and cooked to perfection. Also try Katoumari a seafood pasta, Souam Dormasi (stuffed onions) and the Vrithopites (chickpea fritters). When it comes to sweets the most unique is the Halvas tis Nifis, which is usually made for special occasions but you can find it all year round. 

Eat at great restaurants 

There is a great range of eateries to choose from including Alexandra’s for fine dining, Lazarakis for traditional dishes, The Seafood Tavern for fish and Athina for local cuisine. Also add Platania Taverna on Horafia Square, The Olive Garden, The Old Time and Agora to the list- you won’t be disappointed as all these restaurants use local and seasonal produce to create wonderful dishes. 

Stay at the best place in town 

Insights Greece - Top 13 Things to do in Kastellorizo 
Mediterraneo Hotel

The finest room for rent on Kastellorizo is the suite at Mediterraneo, a delightful little haven with seven vibrantly coloured bedrooms, some of which look over the harbour and a sunbathing terrace on the quayside. The rooms are spread over two floors and offer lots of light and a nice breeze as they face the sea. 

Getting there

Ferries run to Kastellorizo from Rhodes but schedules change seasonally. From Athens, you can travel with Blue Star direct from Piraeus to Kastellorizo and take a cabin. Otherwise, you can fly from Athens to Rhodes and from there you can catch a ferry.

Exploring Nimborio, Halki’s Picturesque Harbour

Halki is a beautiful Greek island in the Dodecanese, located about 6 kilometres west of Rhodes. It’s the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese (with only 250 permanent residence) however it boasts the most picturesque harbour, which is one of the most beautiful in all of Greece.

Insights Greece - Exploring Nimborio, Halki's Picturesque Harbour
Picturesque harbour

You can easily spend hours on end strolling Nimborio’s charming little alleyways, lined with colourful bougainvillaea-decorated mansions, as the absence of cars allows you to really relax, unwind and not have a care about time. 

Nimborio is the port and only settlement of the island and the beautiful Venetian style houses are set around a horseshoe-shaped bay. The colourful houses feature pastel shades of mostly pink, salmon and beige. The houses are all similar, with two or three floors and roofs made of ceramic tiles.

The roughly 250 inhabitants are known for their hospitality and friendly nature and make visitors feel right at home. One of the most pleasing things is sitting at one of the local cafes along the harbour and enjoying ouzo, as you play a game of tavli (backgammon) and savour traditional delicacies (make sure you try the locally produced prickly pears and makarounia- handmade pasta). 

As you walk along you will discover some of the more than 360 churches, the remnants of a medieval castle and Chorio, the island’s ancient capital, which lies at the foot of the castle.

Insights Greece - Exploring Nimborio, Halki's Picturesque Harbour
Bell Tower

Landmarks of the town are the Byzantine bell tower and a dramatic backdrop of rugged mountains guarded by three windmills. Do not miss the church of Agios Nikolaos,(Patron Saint and Protector of the island), built in 1861, with its magnificent bell tower whose base leans over an arch made of ancient marbles. The clock tower stands before the Town Hall, and the building of Hiona Vouvali, once used for storing sponge supplies.

At the main square is where you will find some beautiful taverns and cafés, shops that sell everything from jewellery and sandals to ceramics and local sweets. And when you need to cool off, climb down the steps from the harbour into the crystal clear water for an unforgettable swim. 

Getting there

The quickest way to get to Halki is a ferry ride from Rhodes; boats depart regularly from the port of Rhodes.  

Immaculate 17th-Century Holiday Home in Tinos

On a charming mountainous village in the centre of Tinos, you will come across a traditional 17th Century home (that once belonged to a local bishop). After being beautifully restored, it has now become one of the coziest holiday villas on the island. 

Perched on the high slopes of Mount Exombourgo, the fabulously renovated Xinara House in Tripotamos is the ideal place to stay if you are looking for an authentic Cycladic experience. 

Boasting an elevated position that offers unobstructed views of nearby charming hillside villages and the majestic Aegean Sea (that’s extra-spectacular during sunset), the property includes a set of two immaculate villas, tastefully styled to blend in beautifully with their natural surroundings. 

Proud owners and hosts, Peter and Susan Marston, who purchased the home in 2016, worked closely with locals to retain as much of the traditional architecture as possible, and throughout the villa, you will find locally produced Tinos marble, which is featured on the floors, tables and even solid-marble basins for the bathrooms and kitchen. 

The light-filled home also features originally carved marble fanlights, plasterwork, and traditional island pebble-patterns are laid on the terrace. Xinara House is a real “home away from home” and guests are able to rent out the entire property, which accommodates up to 13 people; otherwise the villas can be divided into two, with the House, being the bigger option; and Blacksmith, which fits 2-3 people.

The exterior of the villa has been perfectly repainted with natural limewash and there are also splashes of  ‘loulaki’ (Greek island blue) giving the villas a traditional, yet fresh facade. Outside really is just as spectacular (if not more so) than the interior spaces; as this is where guests are really able to feel the island vibe and sense true Cycladic life.

The private bougainvillea-filled gardens are home to mulberries, walnuts, almonds, figs, and other delightful fruit trees; amongst the pretty terraces, Peter and Susan grow organic fruit and vegetables for their guests to enjoy throughout their entire stay. A vineyard has also been planted and produces rosé, and new vegetable gardens (plus fresh eggs) stock the kitchens. Breakfast is included; with generous servings of fresh and organic island milk and yogurt, eggs, bread, granola, fruit, and a perfect shot of espresso- the ideal way to start your day! 

On the private terraced gardens, guests are encouraged to create their own tasty lunches and dinners; and the outdoor kitchen space includes an original wood-fired oven. Guests are able to help themselves with the organic vegetables and other delicious local produce available, including the lovely wine produced from the property’s own vineyard. 

Spend time relaxing and unwinding on one of the many loungers and hammocks; or wander around and get up close to the lemon and orange trees, ancient olives, and cactus. From here you are also only minutes away from beaches and restaurants, or hike around the island’s ancient paths and villages. Only 10 – 15 minutes from the main town of Xinara, old tracks from the house will lead you directly to the mountain, down to old villages, the port, and to one of the island’s best beaches (safe, sandy, and with a beach bar) it’s just a short drive from the house and ideal for families. 

Nearby you will also find a nice variety of taverns, cafes, bakeries, and other stores. These come personally recommended by Paul and Susan, who want their guests to have the most memorable stay in Tinos, an amazing island they have completely fallen in love with. 

Hollywood Heads to Greece This Summer for Work

Close to 20 international films will be shot across Greece in 2021, confirming the country’s beautiful landscapes, historical monuments and archaeological sites are becoming more and more popular amongst the world’s film industry.

Since the beginning of May, the Athenian neighbourhood of Sepolia, in the heart of Athens, has been used as a backdrop for Disney+’s film Greek Freak, based on the life of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks’ leading player was born and raised in Sepolia, which is currently the primary location for the much-anticipated biopic of the elite athlete and the live-action film; inspired by the true story of Antetokounmpo’s life and family. 

Insights Greece - Hollywood Heads to Greece This Summer for Work
Disney+ is currently filming in Sepolia, Athens

A new gangster movie Barracuda, starring Antonio Banderas, has also commenced shooting in the Greek region of Central Macedonia. 

“This is a big Hollywood production worth over €20m. It is a very important moment for the goal we have set as a region, to put Central Macedonia on the world map of film producers,” announced the region’s governor, Apostolos Tzitikostas. In 2020, the Film Office of the Central Macedonia Region was established and has since operated as a managing team for foreign production crews in search of filming locations in the area, helping the Barracuda project come to life. 

It has also been confirmed that the eagerly awaited Knives Out sequel will be shot and set in Greece. The star-studded ensemble will include Katherine Hahn, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, and Jessica Henwick; who have all joined the cast for the film.

Insights Greece - Hollywood Heads to Greece This Summer for Work
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, set to be filmed in Greece

And earlier this year, Greek-Canadian actress, screenwriter, and director,  Nia Vardalos announced her romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 will be shot in Greece. 

Other major projects choosing to shoot in Greece include season three of Amazon and paramount’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Australian director Jason Raftopoulos’ Voices in Deep, and David Cronenberg’s sci-fi film Crimes of the Future will be coming to Athens in early August.

And if you are in Greece this summer and wondering which other famous actors you might bump into? Keep an eye out for Kate Bosworth, Daniel Craig, Kristen Stewart, John Krasinski, La Seydoux, Rian Johnson, and Janelle Viggo Mortensen who are all making their way over to the Aegean in the next few weeks.  

Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

The culturally rich and cool Athenian neighbourhood of Psirri is packed with precious antiques, talented local artisans, authentic Greek tavernas, boho bars, charming cafes and loads of visitors who come here time and time again to enjoy a spot where the modern world blends in beautifully with old-time charm. 

With so many eateries to choose from, we’ve rounded up 16 of the best restaurants and taverns in Psirri, for your next visit to the Greek capital! 

Arodou– This mezedopolio also has a live band for guests to enjoy platters of dishes while listening to traditional Greek music. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Voliotiko– A traditional tsipouradiko, it serves authentic Greek dishes and flavours, which are served indoors or in the charming courtyard. 

Oineas Restaurant- Has a mix of traditional and modern dishes that are based on fresh, seasonal produce. 

Stou Mamma– By far one of the more modern taverns in the neighbourhood when it comes to both decor and dishes; as the chef takes traditional recipes and adds modern twists.  

Krasopoulio Tou Kokkora– Once a historic music tavern, this long time local favourite serves homemade dishes, including the chef’s “plate of the day.” 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

I Orea Penteli – Known for its grilled meat platters, this authentic taverna also serves great side dishes to add to your mains. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Avli– A lovely spot where you can eat authentic dishes (cooked over a gas stove) in the charming “Avli” (garden). 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Lithos–  With both indoor and outdoor dining spaces, Lithos is a mezedopolio, where you can enjoy traditional Greek food and live music. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Kafenio Tis Ivis– This tsipouradiko is popular amongst locals, who come here to catch up with friends in a casual setting.  

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Atlantikos– For the freshest seafood in the heart of Athens, this psarotaverna has a huge range of grilled fish, octopus and lots of other seafood. 

Taverna Tou Psirri– Traditional tavern with indoor and outdoor areas, with a range of meat, seafood and vegetarian plates to choose from.   

Odos Aisxylou– If you are searching for a traditional grill house, this is it. Any meat you can think of is grilled to perfection and served with a side of your choice. 

Nikitas – One of the most popular taverns amongst locals and international visitors, Nikitas’ has a great reputation for both its food and service.  

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Gostijo– This is the only kosher restaurant in Psirri, serving Sephardic Mediterranean cuisine.

Mavros Gatos– It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall, authentic Greek tavern serving a range of classics from dolmadakia and moussaka through to crispy pites (pies) and homemade sweets. 

Oinopoleion Cookhouse– A great choice if you are in search of an old-style tavern (surrounded by greenery) that serves good food and has live music.